During the India tour of Pakistan in 2004, Sourav Ganguly received a phone call from former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. Sourav writes about this in his biography “A Century Is Not Enough”. Indian team was provided with extreme security and they were not allowed to leave the hotel without officers but Sourav Ganguly decided to visit Gawalmandi on his own.
“I didn’t inform our security officer as I knew he would have stopped me. I had only told our team manager Ratnakar Shetty. I slipped through the backdoor with a cap which covered half my face. I knew I was breaking the rules, but I felt I had to get away from the rifles and tanks.”
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai Spotted Sourav in the crowd
Sourav added: “We were about to finish our dinner when someone finally called my bluff. A few yards from where we sat was journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. The moment Rajdeep spotted me, he started shouting, Sourav, Sourav. I knew I was in trouble.”
“People started coming in from all directions and I got gheraoed-…While I tried to pay the bill and escape, the shopkeeper refused to accept payment. He kept on saying, ‘Bahut achcha. We need someone as aggressive as you to lead Pakistan.”
Soon, after Sourav reached the hotel back, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf gave him a phone call. Sourav writes: “President Musharraf was polite but firm. He said, ‘Next time you want to go out please inform the security and we will have an entourage with you. But please don’t indulge in adventures’.”